Revisions, What Is Working For Me And What Isn’t

Revising a novel isn’t like revising a short story.  I’ve read a variety of different pieces about how to do revisions.  The consensus seems to be that there really isn’t a consensus about how to do them.  It seems like every author has a different way of revising.  There is some advice I’m taking, and some advice I’m not taking.

I’m not setting my novel aside and waiting a while to do my first revision.  This would make sense if I only intended to do one revision, but I am doing a large revision focused on plot and character, and then I intend to give my story to alpha readers.  I will work on writing other things while my alpha readers are reading for me.  And then I’ll set it aside and do my final revision with fresh eyes.

I’m trying not to line edit as I go along, but this is easier said than done.  I know that I might end up taking chunks out, or adding whole chunks, or moving things around depending on what my alpha readers say.  But I’m a line editor by training.  Line editing is a huge part of my ‘real’ job.  And it’s hard not to do it as I’m going along.

I was going to try to do one revision focused on plot, and one revision each for the two point of view characters.  I’ve sort of amalgamated this into my original revision, because every time I see a character continuity error, I can’t help but correct it.  The characters solidified a lot more in my mind and became a lot more distinct as the story went along.  They’re particularly rough in the early chapters.  I can’t just let it go.

So where I’m struggling between how I intended to revise and how I’m actually revising has to do with being a perfectionist.  I know I can’t be, I know I shouldn’t be, but it’s something I’m really struggling with as I’m going into this process of doing my first revision of my first completed novel.  It’s definitely something to work on!

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